Exciting time of the year for high school football fans. July 30 – official first day of practice. Just finished a long three day weekend ending in St Joseph, Michigan. Took in some football practice at my local school with the Upper Sandusky Rams. High school football has begun.
With traveling the state on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, catching a Ram’s game is difficult. But my goal some day is to work on the chain crew with the hometown Rams. Always on the visitors’ side and close to the action. Probably will not happen soon, but one never knows.
Years ago I worked for a coach, Tom Hollman at the College of Wooster. I mean years ago. The best coach at seeing the field whom I have ever worked for. Tremendous mind. Well organized. Extremely focused.
Coach Hollman always said that the best job would be to be an assistant coach at a school the size of an Upper Sandusky. Coach hard. Enjoy the weekends. Enjoy staff meetings. Enjoy working with kids who really enjoyed playing the game. Drink a little beer on the weekends.
Russell Hall will begin his first year as head football coach. I do not know him well, but he has worked hard. Also brings a very “sincere approach” to the game. Young and, of course, he is excited for his opportunity. Really like his work ethic.
I simply enjoy watching kids play the game. College and NFL practices are really the same with regards to drills and plays and defenses. Most things are copycat stuff, anyways. But there is just something about high school players learning hard work. Also, high school players are becoming more and more structured every day. Another word – disciplined.
As I walked off the practice field, I had to do some coaching. Of course, I still think that I am a quarterback guru. Right up there with Jon Gruden. But I played some catch with one of the QB’s. Like all young QB’s he really needs to work on his feet. Not very big, but needs to improve his footwork. Thanks to Coach for letting me show my “expertise.” Humor.
Seeing the coaches all walking together for the break was good. Discussing individual players as a group was good. This was not the end of practice. Players were taking about a 45 minute break. I mention coaches walking together, because would have some coaches driving home after practice, while some players and coaches were still leaving the field.
I really respect most high school coaches, regardless of the sport. But football coaches are special. Special because of the time spent away from the family and the self discipline a coach must have. After July 4, football would be my main focus, as a head coach. With 7on7 competition and football camps, now July would be even crazier. Thank goodness – I had a great wife and was just starting a family. The time element is unreal.
Numbers are down is some area schools, but Upper Sandusky’s numbers seem to be up. For most programs, I have always thought the key was the freshman year. Recruit the halls like crazy in the spring. Recruit in the summer. Plus, and although many coaches may not agree, 9th graders could come out late. Maybe the first day of school. They would have to stay later after practice, to get some additional coaching.
Of course, play as many 9th graders as possible. All should get playing time. ALL
Young guys. Inexperienced guys. Few big guys. Some veterans. “Young and inexperienced guys have to learn sometime. They have to “do battle” sometime. They have to “grow-up” fast. But they have to believe in themselves.
Most of all – everything is about “finishing.” Finishing drills. Finishing plays. Finishing tackles. Finishing games. Finishing the season. Finish everything and players will get better. Have to get better!
The very best to the Upper Sandusky Rams, my school.